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Cuba Travel Guide

James Suckling
From the Print Edition:
Cuba, May/June 2007

(continued from page 2)

With only a couple dozen rooms, a Spanish colonial façade and a location right in the heart of old Havana, this is the most romantic hotel on the island. Stay in one of the rooms with a large balcony overlooking the park. And take long strolls in the evening to many of the sites and restaurants nearby. It's a shame that the hotel's food and service are mediocre.

Hotel Meliá Habana
Avenida 3, entre 76 y 80
Tel.: (7) 204-8500
Fax: (7) 204-3905

This is very similar to its sister hotel the Meliá Cohiba, although the 400-room Habana has a more relaxed atmosphere owing to its coastal location in the Havana neighborhood of Miramar. Ask for a room with an ocean view. And enjoy a dip in the pool. It's more leisure than business here.

Hotel Nacional
Calle O, esq. 21
Tel.: (7) 836-3564
Fax: (7) 836-5054

With about 450 rooms, this is the granddaddy of hotels on the island, with a rich and long history from the last century. It's worth staying here for the beautiful view of the ocean from the garden, which jets out on the Malecón, the city's coastal road. But the rooms could use some renovation and the service is slow. Forget about eating here.

Hotel Parque Central
Calle Neptuno, entre Prado y Zulueta
La Habana Vieja
Tel.: (7) 860-6627
Fax: (7) 860-6630

Many independent travelers still enjoy this deluxe hotel in Old Havana, mostly for its location, which is a stone's throw away from the National Theater and the capitol building. It's a slightly strange mix of old and new, built from the ruins of a seventeenth-century hotel. The rooms are clean and comfortable, and the rooftop swimming pool is a great place to see the skyline of the old part of the city and then take a quick swim.

Hotel Saratoga
Paseo del Prado, No. 603, esq. Dragones
La Habana Vieja
Tel.: (7) 868-1000
Fax: (7) 868-1001

The newest of the centrally located deluxe hotels, the Saratoga has all the style and flavor of old Havana. The common areas and rooms are comfortable and nicely decorated. The pool on the roof is one of the best on the island, with a wonderful view of the capitol and the Partagas cigar factory. However, the service leaves a lot to be desired.


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